This article will discuss Psychoanalysis from the perspectives of Freud and Jung, Erikson and Adler. This post will focus on what is the main difference between Sigmund Freud and the neo-Freudians?. Let’s look at each theory below and then we will be able to see the differences.

Theory of Sigmund Freud

Jones (1910) claims that Freud is not a philosopher but a man of science, Burrow (1917) describes Freud as a genus man for scientific observation. Freud only observes the fact from the perspective of principle of science (Burrow 1917). Karl Pearson has shown that Freud can be considered to accept scientific idealism in philosophy. Freud uses conscious to refer to the mental awareness of a person at any moment, regardless of whether it is clear or not. Jones (1910) supports Freud’s view that conscious and unconscious processes are related in every aspect, but does not include the matter of awareness.

Freud’s psychology that I want to focus on is the importance of psychosexual trends (Jones 1910). Freud has long recognized that the suppression of the libido results in an over-emphasis on the ego (Burrow 1917). Freud’s reasoning behind using the term “sexual” in a wider sense, even though it isn’t considered to be sexually-oriented would be due to his experiences with psychical manifestations (Jones 1910). The definition of sexual doesn’t matter, but its significance does. Freud combines the unconscious desire for life into the concept of sex, which he calls the principle of pleasure (Jones 1910).

Neo-Freudians Theories

  • Jung’s Theory

Jung’s theory was more expansive than Freud’s. He used primarily scientific empirical research as well as his own interests. Jung sees nature behind man’s struggle to organize itself. “The mother, conceived concretely, vanishes in the creative instinct and in the instincts to dependence, from which man must be free.” (Putnam 1917). Putnam (1917) says that Jung’s view is acceptable and fascinating.

Jung conducts his analysis in an old-fashioned manner. It is therefore difficult to understand how Jung is able not to recognize the value of principles he used previously so frequently. Burrow (1917), who had understood Jung’s hypothesis about a presexual mode, said that presexual is a term that does not refer to a pleasure mode. It is also a generalized sense of a continuous sexual cycle. Burrow (1917), explains that the consciousness of the sexual phase and its unconscious significance are beyond the author’s imagination due to the absence of the presexual phase concept.

  • The Theory of Adler

Alfred Adler uses the “individual Psychological” method to experiment mental disorders. This approach is pertinently perfect because it serves the purpose psychoanalysis, which is to find individual’s purpose in life. Adler’s theory of individual psychological can trace the genetic and past history of an individual’s life, which will help to determine the activities planned for that person. Adler does not intend to make his individual psychological experiment too general.

Adler’s psychology serves an important purpose in his research. Every event is a preparation to achieve something at the end. Adler believes that everyone, regardless of their health or illness, lives for dominance in his way of thinking.

Vaughan (1927) states that the neurotic cannot show any one trait in a healthy person, but there are some important traits such as anxiety and egotism which can be used to identify this type of personality. This is based on intense self-assertion.

Adlerian Theory teaches that the neurotic is independent. It is strange that it can be traced back unsatisfied sexual desires, which are man’s nature. To prevent sexual intercourse with a woman, she will display ignorance and stubbornness. A female patient might be aggressive towards her male physician and defy his orders. The neurotic’s similarities are centered on sex and how it relates to power control and achievement. He attempts to take control of power in other areas by being sexually impoverished. With the fundamental notion of power in mind, the characteristics of neurotic fall within the line, defining new meanings of the whole.

  • Erikson’s Theory

Munley (1975) says Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory about human development is derived out of his life span developmental theory. Erikson’s theory states that an individual must go through eight developmental stages. He would then have to confront and deal with an identity or existential crisis.

Dunkel (2009) states that Erikson’s theory of human development is from one of the most influential theories, This states that human development occurs in a series predetermined stages and that an optimal time is set for each stage to ascend. The resolution of the early stages will greatly impact the outcome of the later stages.”(Dunkel 2009)

Erikson suggested eight psychosocial tasks for his theory in 1950. His first stage is trust versus distrust. Infant development tends to trust when the caregiver is responsive. If they aren’t responsive, infant development will be affected by mistrust. The second stage is autonomy versus shame. This stage is when a child feels more independent and can explore the world around them. However, it only happens when their caretakers are able to guide and restrict the child appropriately.

The third stage is initiative over guilt. This stage is easily noticed when the child begins to plan for their future. The child’s sense of initiative and motivation increases with success, praise, and a greater psychological purpose. Fourth stage: Industry versus inferiority, where children learn and practice certain skills. Dunkel (2009) states that Erikson’s fifth stage, which is identity versus confusion, is the most important. This happens when the adolescent faces the development of self-concept and the identification of oneself.

Intimacy versus isolation would be the sixth stage. This stage is the ability for an adult to commit to another person. It can be expressed in romantic relationships. The sixth stage of development is the beginning of love. The seventh stage is generatively and not stagnation. Adults are now responsible for being productive and shaping the future generation. It develops the strength and ability to care. The eighth and final stage is integrity over despair.

When a person reaches old age, this is the time when they must reflect back on their lives and decide whether to be satisfied or disappointed. This stage of psychosocial development is characterized by wisdom and integrity. These stages are interconnected and form a complex process that involves each developmental stage.

  • Horney’s Theory

Dr. Horney’s theory about the structure of neurotic personality is based on basic characteristics of cultures. Dr. Horney’s theory of neurotic personality is centered on anxiety. Pullias (1938) states that Dr. Horney defines anxiety as an emotional state in childhood which manifests itself in individual lives. This is based on a cultural trend. Dr. Horney supported anxiety as the central concept of neurotic personality structures. Dr. Horney was criticized for explaining and protecting against neurosis using only one principle, which would be anxiety (Pullias 1938).

Pullias (1938) states that Dr. Horney should not be criticized for her contribution to psychoanalysis theories and attempted to link accurately neurotic personality and culture. The author also stated that her theory of neurotic personality structure had been clearly presented.

What is the main Difference between Sigmund Freud and the Neo-Freudians?

Freud’s theory is also contradicted by Adler’s and Jung’s theories. Carl Jung’s rejection to Freud’s theory could be seen in two ways: acceptable and pleasant, or inexplicable. It is not about useless empty arguments. Freud’s view was narrower than Jung’s. Jung saw more in a man than Freud. Jung views a man as a man. Freud considers man to be something that has been shaped into a person. Jung believes that man’s natural libido drives him, while Freud disagrees.

Freud’s perspective was different from Adler’s. Adler’s theory of experimenting individual psychology has been more limited than Freudian’s. Adler disagrees with Freud’s view that libido is the cause of neurosis.

Adler’s view of neurosis does not focus on the force behind it, but rather the achievement of a goal and control of power. Adler also sees sex in neurosis as a symbol because it is central to all his efforts. Freud, on the other side, failed to recognize that sex is only a principle of pleasure.

Horney’s theory of correlation is similar to the Adlerian theory. Both theories included the term anxiety, but Horney defends the principle of anxiety in his theory. Adlerian theory of neurotic includes anxiety and egotism, where neurotic independence is shown.

Freud’s Theory and Erikson’s Theory can be very different. Freud focuses primarily on the importance and value of libido, while Erikson places more emphasis on the influences of environment and culture. Erikson’s eight stages all link together and involve the cohesive flow of development that builds an individual.


Let’s take a look at each theory. Jung, Adler and Horney are all Neo-Freudians, but their theories are based on Freud, regardless of the circumstances. Some are more focused on the details of their theory. Horney, for example, focuses more on anxiety than her theory of neurotic personality. Jung’s perspective is broader than Freud’s. Adler didn’t over-generalize his findings in comparison to Freud.

It is clear that Freud was the pioneer in psychoanalysis, and they are being followed by Neo-Freudian who is the successor to the entire Freudian concept. They are the successor to Freudian Theory because they disagree with Freud’s theory. They have done scientific empirical research to support their theory and offer a wide perspective on the terms. Freud, on the other side, was simply observing the facts.

These Psychoanalysts’ concepts have helped to improve the knowledge of society. Their research and findings are deemed useful to mankind. This allows us to examine the present and the past in order to understand our behavior.

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